In interacting with people, our day can involve either being convinced or trying to convince the people we interact with about our point of view. To see life as we see it.
For a long time and until I sat down just now to write this, I believed you must be successful to be taken seriously by anyone. At least have a Ted- talk with 10 million views, or be doctor or a professor. It only the likes of WSJ Best Selling Authors that have the street cred to back up why anyone should care.
I went through a period where I attended live motivational talks. At one such event, the main speaker had given a young “motivational speaker” the podium as his opening act. The full auditorium was amped to hear an uplifting and inspirational message. Our protégé opened his talk by attempting to establish why anyone should care about what he is about to share with us. He claimed he had read “lots” of books. He mentioned reading books such as autobiographies of great business leaders. He also read “many” sales and marketing books, and owned the entire series of books, tapes, videos, CDs, and DVDs of both Richard Branson, and Tony Robbins. These were some of his references.
So, why should we care?
By listening to him, we can get the fast-track to the success secrets all this reading has taught him. After gathering all this knowledge, you can now skip through all that reading and apply the “secret techniques” he has already distilled. You could hear the audience disengage as the volume of the people talking in the audience started to increase. It will take time for our young expert to find many people to care, because he has read some books.
I’m not knocking reading, it’s the only way of researching a topic. It will be tough following the advice of someone in their early twenties claiming to be an expert in anything. If you haven’t studied, researched, and drafted a thesis or constructed a business case or performed some form of documenting of your findings, no one should care.
I’m not successful. I’m not famous. I’m not a doctor or a professor. I haven’t authored any best-selling novels or a top-ten self-help book. I have yet to crack a nod to present a TED-Talk. If I go back to my younger days, a similar pattern emerges. I scraped through high school without a university entrance certificate. After my 2-years of National Service, I studied civil engineering. I gave up in my third year — carrying two subjects from my first and second years.
I was a drug addict and an alcoholic by the age of 40. I have relapsed three times after stints at rehabilitation. My marriage failed after 17 years. My family was torn apart. It took me over 7 years to complete a 3-year post-graduate diploma. I barely passed.
I have been financially and technically bankrupt since I was divorced. I’ve had many failed business attempts. I committed two of the fundamental business mistakes you can make in your life:
1. Never sign financial surety for someone else — not even nice family members. I did this.
2. Never enter a verbal contract — get everything important in writing — especially with family. I did this too.
It is in the crucible you forge the finest metals. A path paved with only successes and few failures, doesn’t point to being an expert. It is in the depths of darkness where we find our inner strength. That is where we call on God to intervene because we are empty. This is where humility and gratitude live. You become a pioneer by surviving such challenges. You’ve found the secret sauce! You can lead others to victory.
“Show me, tell me how you did that?”
“You sound like someone who knows.”
“I should care about what you have to say because you have lived it and can tell the tale.”
Everyone has a story worth telling. Be authentic and stay true to yourself and your values. Sharing what you have learned from your experience is why anyone should care and will.
Have an awesome weekend and please remember to be generous! 😄
As always, thanks for reading 🙏
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